I grew up in a small town in Germany, surrounded by fields, forests and the Rhineland Nature Park. I spent most of my early summer vacations on my grandparents’ farm, located at the beginning of the German low mountain range. With no internet, no cell phones and almost nothing on TV for kids, we spent most of our time outside, even in winter. I was close to nature almost all year round.

It’s no surprise that nature is the most important part of my work, both in landscape paintings and paintings of flowers (or plants in general). Now that I have lived in the southwest of the Netherlands for more than a decade, the different landscape is slowly creeping into my art. There are no mountains or even hills here, hardly any forests, but a lot of water, from city canals to the enormous harbor area to the North Sea itself.

During the corona pandemic, I found a new way to express my view of things with my creativity: minimalist illustrations of lines and shapes. I think minimalism is a very good metaphor for 2020: The need to limit oneself in many ways, to keep distance and perhaps to experience how quickly life can end – at least for me this has led to search for beauty in small and simple things and appreciate what is and what I have. “Keep it simple” seems to me a very nice way to see life and everything that belongs to it. So is my art. Or at least part of it.

Working on the minimalist illustrations has resulted in another art form: mixed media artworks of simple landscapes, with the sun being the central element. I love the glow that the sun can conjure up on a landscape – light pink in spring, golden in summer, bronze in autumn and blue or purple in winter. Metallic paint on highly textured canvases with visible sun rays is the result of these impressions.

Furthermore, I see my landscape and flower paintings as representative with varying degrees of abstraction. I don’t paint photo-realistic and don’t want to compete with photography. My paintings show my memories and feelings, and I hope they evoke similar memories and feelings in my viewers.

Like many artists, I have been drawing and painting since my early childhood. I have had no formal art training, but I have had a number of classes and workshops, and I am constantly developing my skills. I strongly believe that studying the basic principles – perspective, proportions, colors, light, etc. – is the best foundation for any artist to express his/her unique view of the world through art.

For me, the journey from the first idea to the finished painting is both a comforting walk along familiar paths and an exciting (and sometimes scary) exploration of new lands. Thank you for joining me on this journey!

Tanja Udelhofen photo